I jog back the last block with Faure's Requiem blasting through my ears. The skies above me are darkening with smokey grey clouds, mirroring my mood.
Why do the two men I've ever had feelings for, not feel the same about me? Why can't I be enough for any one man?
Both Roger and Adam are quick to pay me compliments as they're about to come, but much like their orgasm, their words of love and praise are over in the next breath.
What am I doing wrong? Am I that unlovable?
I've had one boyfriend, one husband and now, one lover. Is that where I went wrong - not playing the field enough and marrying the first man who bought me a drink?
Hot tears scald my eyes again as the house comes into view. My mood darkens further as I spot Linc's car in the driveway. I'd wanted to slink in and lick my wounds before he'd got home. Why was he back at this hour?
I pull my headphones off, take a deep breath and enter the house. There is no sign of Linc, but I can hear running water from upstairs so I know he's taking a shower.
I'm beginning to think he has an issue with personal hygiene, the amount of showers he's been taking these past months...
I grab a cold bottle of water out of the fridge and gulp down a couple of welcome mouthfuls, before running the bottle over my aching forehead. The sooner I hit a nice warm shower and wash Adam, our argument and my stupid feelings out of my system, the better. I open my eyes and look out to the back of the house to where my new hobby building is taking shape. There seems to be tons of brick, cement and rubble everywhere, but for the first time since coming off that damn cross, my spirits lift a little.
As I arrive at the top of the stairs, my old bedroom door opens and Linc stands there wearing nothing but a dark teal towel wrapped around his waist. It's the first time I have seen him almost naked in six months and I'm momentarily distracted to the point I have to hold the bannister for support.
"Ell," he begins warmly. "I didn't hear you come in. How was your jog?"
"Umm...Fine thank you. What are you doing home? Is everything okay?"
He leans against the door frame and his torso gleams from his recent shower. It's not as muscular and toned as Adam's, but he's still in great shape...
"My conference call was cut short. Some damn gremlins on the line. We've rescheduled for tomorrow." His eyes leave my face and scan my dark jogging suit. I'd unzipped my jacket and it was revealing my tight tank top, damp and clinging to my breasts with sweat. I suddenly feel all shades of self-conscious, but somehow I remain motionless under his scrutiny. "The jogging is really suiting you. You look even more amazing, if that's possible." He smiles, then tilts his head to the side. "Maybe I should start joining you..?"
"You...You don't need to. " I begin in a rush. I sweep my arm out towards him. "You're in fantastic shape. You always have been and I'm sure you always will be." I feel a blush heat my cheeks, as I remember us hot and naked in the middle of the bed; me underneath him, panting his name in shallow breaths...
What the hell am I thinking and why the hell am I blushing!
His eyebrows shoot up in surprise at my compliment. He takes a step towards me. "Ell," he begins softly.
SHIT! "I need a shower, Roger." I state as firmly as I can and turn to flee to my room, but Linc flings out an arm and grabs my elbow.
"Elena! Wait, dammit!"
I reluctantly turn to him. "What?"
"I...I thought as we're both home early, why don't we go out to dinner?"
"We haven't been out to Danilo's in ages. We had such a successful, productive week last week...Let me treat you. Please, Ell."
He looks so earnest and after the afternoon I've had, a nice meal at my favourite restaurant would definitely be welcome.
"Okay," I acquiesce and Linc smiles in relief. "But," I begin as his face falls. "I still really need a shower..."
Danilo's Italian Restaurant occupies an exclusive spot in West Seattle. It's Roman decor features replica Roman Composite columns, stone statues of half-naked women draped in togas and an ornate water fountain in the centre of the restaurant, all in stunning white marble.
"This place always reminds me of our trip to Rome," Linc says softly as he pours me another glass of rich Barolo.
I smile. "Yes...despite the heat and the blisters - thanks to my super trendy Gladiator sandals!"
He chuckles. "Well...When in Rome!"
"Try telling that to my poor feet!"
He grins. "We should try and slip over there again. We're long overdue a break at the Maltese Villa. Maybe we could do a week in Mellieha and a week in Rome?"
Crap! I came here to have a nice relaxing meal, not plan a fortnight's holiday away! And what would Adam do to me if I went away with Linc for a fortnight?
I shiver involuntarily. I don't want to think about Mr-non-commitment-play-the-field-doesn't-believe-in-love-Dominant.
I jump as Linc's hand brushes mine. "Ell," he begins softly. "Please tell me you haven't given up on us."
"Roger..." I swallow hard as I try to think of what to say.
"Elena...I'm desperately trying to prove myself to you...To show you much I want us to start anew. I've not even looked at another woman since Amanda..."
"You haven't? But...But you have...NEEDS..." I squeak.
He looks sheepishly at me. "Frequent cold showers and this," he waves his right hand at me "helps take the edge off..."
I gasp and I'm sure blush the colour of the Barolo.
Well that explains why he's constantly holed up in the bathroom...
He squeezes my hand. "Say something, Ell. Please."
He's not looked at another woman since Amanda, not had sex for six months...whilst I've been off indulging in a BDSM relationship!
But...Did I still have feelings for Roger? I'd not thought of him sexually since I'd started seeing Adam...and now I was developing feelings for said Dominant! Oh...This is so confusing!
"Elena..." He persists softly.
I bring my gaze to his. "Roger...That's a lot to think about. Please...I..." I rub my fingers against the knot in my brow as I feel the walls closing in. I need some space. I take a deep breath and stand shakily. Roger drops my hand and immediately rises with me.
"I...I need the powder room." I breathe.
"Of...Of course. I'm so sorry I pushed, Ell. But...I miss you." He says with quiet sincerity.
I nod. "This really isn't the time and place to discuss this, Roger," I whisper, suddenly aware that most of the people in the restaurant are watching us.
He nods remorsefully and sits down heavily. I actually find myself feeling sorry for him.
"I won't be long. Can you order me the Tiramisu for dessert?" I try a reassuring smile.
"Okay..." He sighs.
I turn and on wobbly legs, weave my way through the restaurant to the rest rooms.
I sit on the toilet seat lid and read the list of Italian phrases on the back of the toilet door, for the umpteenth time. Why Danilo's felt that a little Italian lesson was necessary whilst you're sat relieving yourself is anyone's guess, but I suppose it's amusing to read alongside 'Buongiorno' for 'Good Day' that 'Vaffanculo' means 'Go Fuck Yourself'. I lean my head against the cool tiles at a total loss for what to do. It had taken every ounce of my courage to finally admit to Adam I was falling for him - only for him to literally balk from my words - and now Roger throws me a curve-ball that I hadn't even anticipated and wants US to start anew...When I don't know if I can ever feel that way about him again. I'm guilty of barely thinking about him most of the time, as my thoughts are usually about the business and Adam.
And now I don't know what to do about Adam either! He obviously doesn't want to fall in love again and despite all his praise and compliments, obviously sees me just as some kind of kinky sex slave he can do with as he likes...
You knew all of this before you got involved in a BDSM relationship, Elena.
It's true. I did. Adam was very clear about where we stood from the start.
But I'd been so angry and disgusted at Linc cheating on me, that I'd ignored the cold hard facts and just concentrated on how the amazing sex made me feel...
I screw my eyes shut. What I'd done to Linc was probably far worse than whatever he'd done to me, in the end.
I'm a horrible, horrible, human being. No wonder I'm not enough for any one man.
I dejectedly head back to the table, my head swimming with dark thoughts. I need some proper space to clear my head. Maybe I can go and see Scarlett for a few days, get away from both of them and get some perspective and clarity on things. I think I'll text her when I get home. I round the fountain and am suddenly stopped in my tracks by a noise coming from the other side. Over the tinkling water, drifts a familiar sound; deep, warm, manly and immediately recognisable to my ears.
Despite being rooted to the spot, I force myself to peer around the marble. Sure enough, at a small intimate table, sits Adam in one of his fitted black Armani shirts, drinking wine and gazing adoringly at a young, slim brunette, who is beaming and gazing adoringly back. From Adam's descriptions, I instinctively know it's Emilia and I feel my heart sink through to my shoes. No wonder he's not held back in telling me about her and he was SO eager to fit her in after my session earlier. Emilia is everything I'm not - petite, brunette, slim...Young...And doesn't come with the extra baggage of keeping the affair secret from her husband. He takes her hand, kisses her across the knuckles like he has done a thousand times with me in the past, and rises gracefully from the table, heading for the restrooms. I try my best to quickly duck out of sight, but somehow our eyes meet over the fountain.
One long moment suspended in time, hangs between us as he immediately recognises me. His ice-blue eyes widen and his lush lips part on a sharp inhale. I stand rooted to the spot, as waiters and customers mill around me and the strains of 'Chitarra Romana' play from the recessed speakers overhead. He blinks rapidly, breaking the spell, and then he's moving...Moving swiftly away from me and into the restrooms, without so much as a backwards glance.
Blood, hot and rampant suddenly surges through my veins, mixing with a powerful shot of adrenalin. I storm back to our table and grab my purse.
Roger looks up at me.
"Cancel dessert and pay the check." I hiss, startling him.
"You're leaving?" He asks in dismay.
I shake my head. "No...WE'RE leaving."
"Why?" He asks in confusion as he puts down his wine glass.
I lean in and whisper into his ear. "Because we are going home to fuck until neither of us can walk tomorrow." I lean back to where his jaw has literally hit the table. "That is...if you want too..."
Roger jumps up so eagerly from the table, he makes our wine glasses wobble precariously. He presses his car keys into my hand, his eyes bright, his cheeks flushed and with a huge grin like all his Christmases have come at once.
"I'll meet you in the car," he breathes excitedly.
"Great!" I answer with a beaming smile of my own.
He hurries off to pay the check and with my head held high, I exit the restaurant.
Vaffanculo, Adam DeBrett...
We writhe together in the middle of the bed. Hot, sweaty, slippery bodies grinding tightly against one another. In fifteen years we have never had sex with this much intensity.
"Fuck me, Roger." I pant into his ear as I grasp his hair, my legs wrapped around his waist. "Fuck me haaaaaaarrrrrrrdddd..."
"Yessss..." He groans as he pumps his cock inside me.
Adam had been wrong. He isn't a small-cocked-wonder at all. Okay - he may not be as well-endowed and lacks Adam's sexual finesse - but he's nowhere near as bad as Adam made me think...
A red mist of anger descends as I think of Adam with his new nubile Sub, the way he blanked me at the restaurant and his reaction to my heartfelt declaration in his dungeon.
"Get on your back, Roger," I hiss. "I want to ride your cock."
Roger pauses in mid-thrust, lifts his head and gazes at me. "What has got into you tonight?" He breathes. "You're like a woman possessed!"
"Nothing," I lie. "After all these months of abstinence, I just want a good, hard fuck!"
He looks at me in bemusement then flips us over so I am on top. I lean forwards resting my hands on his shoulders, trying to find the exact angle for his cock to really hit the sweet spot that Adam had introduced me to...
...Dammit stop thinking about Adam!
The more I try to blot him out of my mind, the more he comes back to haunt me and the angrier and hornier I become.
It must be the adrenaline...
I lean a little further forwards so that my breasts are literally in Roger's face and finally find what I'm looking for.
"Yesss..." I hiss. "Right there. Don't move." I begin to slide myself up and down Roger's length, the tip of his cock pressing beautifully against my insides. Roger dutifully obliges; his hands squeezing my breasts as he pumps his cock into me.
"Elena..." He breathes suddenly. "FUCK! I'm gonna..."
With a loud groan he begins to come, whilst I'm still frantically riding him. Months of delaying my orgasms are obviously paying off, as I'm nowhere near ready to join him yet. He thrusts one last time and I feel him relax under me and...
NO! NO! NO! Do NOT go limp on me now!
But it's too late. I can feel the pressure coming off my sweet spot.
I look down at him. "You need to make me come." I pant, grinding hard against him in the hope of a revival.
"Jesus, Elena not now! I gave you everything I had!" He glances at the clock. "It's after midnight and I'm exhausted. Maybe in the morning..."
MAYBE IN THE MORNING? WHAT THE FUCK!!!
I push off him angrily, climb off the bed and start to pick up my clothes off the bedroom floor.
"What are you doing?" He asks in confusion. "Leave those and come back to bed."
I spin around to face him.
"This wasn't a reconciliation Roger, it was just a fuck. I was horny and needed an outlet. But much like our marriage, you get all the satisfaction and I'm left wanting!"
And with that, I storm out of the bedroom leaving Roger gaping after me.